I Knit London Tweets

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

merry knitting christmas

It reassuring to know that the Catholic Church is still promoting hatred, especially at this festive time of year.

I shouldn't let it but it does upset me very much that these people are allowed to make speeches like these.

It's ironic that we are such a threat to humankind, I've never heard of any homosexuals going to war and killing lots of people because of their prejudice and hatred of people who don't believe the same things.

Merry knitting Christmas.


Tuesday, December 09, 2008

knits to share and care, part 2

In my excitement, I didn't write very much in my last post. There was much I should have written.

Craig and I are extremely excited that the book is out. The decision to use only my name on the book now seems odd. Everything that I do is entirely a collaboration with Craig. This book is no different. This book is By Gerard Allt and Craig Carruthers.

The book the sum of it's parts. The book would not have happened were it not for the talents of the many designers included in the book.

Emily Blades
Craig Carruthers
Heather Dixon
Eirwen Godfrey
Sue hanmore
Sue Hawkins
Julia Hopson
Just Call Me Ruby
Esther Knight
Jane Litgow
Judith Moore
Amanda Perkins
Lesley Prior
Celia Reynolds
Susan Ryder
Melissa Williams
Judith Wright

Thank you, designers, for your contributions. I think we have made a really good book. 

Thanks also to Judith and her team at Fil Rouge Press. Your energy, even during crisis, was flawless and inspiring. You'll be glad to know that I Knit London has sold lots of copies already.

thanks again to everyone. I can't wait for the next!


Sunday, November 30, 2008

tea party

we had a marvelous time yesterday at the tea party. The special event was to celebrate the publication of two marvelous books - Wild Tea Cozies, by Loani Prior and Knitted Cakes by Susan Penny.

We served about 150 cups of tea and there was probably an equal number of slices of cake, biscuits and brownies. There was a huge turn out and competition for the 'bake off' was fierce. We thought the bake off was a great way to ensure that knitted cakes were not the only cake on offer and I for one am glad we did it and grateful to everyone who spent their time baking.
I couldn't manage more than 4 servings of cake but between us - the panel of judges - we did manage to indulge in all the offerings. All the cakes were amazing, from the walnut cake to the tequila and lime cupcakes, the ginger cake to the lemon drizzle, the brownies and the cookies, I also loved the scones! Consequently, we wanted all the cooks to win first prize. As it was we did award 2 winners, Jo's heavenly chocolate brownies with white chocolate chunks and Emily's New York cheesecake. The cheesecake came out overall winner as most of the panel were self-confessed chocoholics and were naturally inclined to go with the brownies but they still felt compelled to vote for the cheesecake.

I thought they were all winners. i missed the perfect moment to be Brucie, though! I could have told each person they were my favorite but I think the sugar rush hindered me considerably.

We even had fruit!

Thanks to everyone for being brilliant and baking all the cakes. It was a marvelous afternoon, should we do it once a month?

I leave you with a couple of shots of some very content I Knit London shop staff.



Wednesday, November 26, 2008

are you a tree hugger?

About one million years ago I did a 5k run in Battersea Park (in fact I think I did it two years in a row) to raise money for Trees For Cities. It was a terribly stupid thing to do as I don't spend a great deal of time running or anything remotely similar. I did it though and I raises a couple of hundred pounds.

With that in mind I had to post about The Woodland trust and their new new project, The Ancient Tree Hunt. It sounds a bit like an oxymoron but apparently they are just a bunch of tree huggers and I think I love them.

They want people to help the record and map ancient trees across the UK. The map will be on their website. How can knitters help? Well, I think knitters will inherit the earth, or something, as we can do anything! They have suggested by knitting scarves, patterns here, we can use them to measure the span of the trees! Marvelous! The scarves are 1.5m long, the official length of a tree hug!

I think this is brilliant. I love trees, for the very obvious reason that they give us life! Most of them are beautiful, too.

I think I might start by measuring the trees on Whitehall, see if I can get into trouble! 


The World's Largest Tea Cosy

This morning was the press launch of the world's biggest tea cosy. We've been working with The Wallace and Gromit Foundation for the past couple of months, asking people to knit squares or strips and send them to us so we could sew then together into a huge tea cosy. It's been great working on such a fun project and the foundation does great work to help young people in the Uk so we are proud to have helped in some way.
We've been asked countless times 'does that mean you have the world's biggest tea pot?' Does the above pic answer your question? We didn't know until last night how big the tea cosy was going to be as we were still receiving contributions so the planning was a little less than we would have preferred. Inside the very heavy tea cosy is Beeci and a gaggle of Wallace and Gromitt Foundation supporters doing brilliant work with raised arms for a 40 minutes or so.

I was very excited to be in the company of two of my heroes. I'm eating wensleydale cheese as I write!
We're even more excited about our tea party this weekend to celebrate the launch of Wild Tea cozies, by Loani Prior.

Bring on the cake!


Sunday, November 23, 2008

not a minute too soon

Yesterday was the best day ever!

Jane Waller and Susan Crawford visted the shop for the London launch of the republication of A Stitch in time. Susan and Jane are two of my favourite people and we were so glad to host them at the shop talking about the book.

They brought with them all of the garments from the book and my expectations, while very high, were thoroughly exceeded!
They are gorgeous.

Jane started proceedings by talking about the genesis of the book and her inspirations, motivations and desires. Jane Waller is a very engaging speaker whose enthusiasm is clear and seemingly boundless.

Susan continued, talking about why she wanted to republish the book and followed by taking us all through the garments in the book. They really are amazing.

This swimsuit was one of the most popular as you can see from our gorgeous model.

We had lots of gorgeous models.

We sold most of the books but we have some left but I don't imagine we'll have for long, It's a truly inspirational book.

The presentation went on for ages as the interest in the garments was huge and Susan has a way of talking to people that encourages us to understand that these garments are not only relevant, they are stunning, flattering and very achievable, all it takes is casting on. Most of the garments are made in 4ply, and although some of them have intricate designs the majority of them are simple, easy to pick stitch patterns with the most beatiful finishing touches, as Susan and Jane said, sometimes there is no reason for the fancy finishing other than it's just gorgeous!

I can't wait for volume 2!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Sticky toffee pudding and Sunday roast

Sunday saw our second Sunday Knit Roast knitting group at a pub in Soho. It's the second time we've hosted this monthly Sunday session and it was very quiet - which I put down to the rain, but it did make us wonder whether the knitting group 'thing' has reached saturation point. I mean, there are so many hundreds of groups now, and in London alone you can go to one every day of the week (almost). We'll still continue with the Sunday Knit Roasts in 2009, even if it's just an excuse for Gerard and I to have the day off and go to the pub.
It was actually really nice to have a small crowd at the weekend - much more relaxing and much more chatty. We met new IKLondoners, mum and daughter Moira and Ortrude (who was knitting from a retro copy of Brigitte, a German book which Moira remembered from her childhood). It stills stands then that there'es been someone new at every single meeting since December 2005! plus, the sticky toffe pudding always makes it worthwhile...
Here's a few pictures from Sunday's get-together. we are now realising 'party season' is upon us - we've got a party almost every week from now til Christmas! To kick things off it's the London lauch of A Stitch in Time this Saturday 22nd November...glorious vintage knits, with cake!


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Franklin, my dear...

Last night we were treated to something very special. A personal visit from Franklin Habit. Franklin and his partner, Tom, are only in London for a few days and they agreed to stop over at I Knit London, meet some knitters, sign some books and give us a reading or two. It was a brilliant night. The place was packed and those arriving late found themselves chair-less, but the atmosphere was great, and Franklin was a consummate gentleman and a thoroughly nice chap.

When I finished work I headed straight for the shop and it was already filling up with eager knitters. Franklin arrived at about 6pm and hid away in the basement with Elizabeth from Simply Knitting for a quick interview, before throwing himself before us. The new book of his cartoons, and essays, It Itches, is very funny, very witty and very Franklin. For those who regularly read his blog (The Panopticon) it'll be no surprise that he has turned out a great little book. Franklin read a couple of excerpts for us, the first about Victorian knitting patterns and their sadistic tendencies (or masochistic if you choose to enjoy them!) and the second about the long-forgotten underpant knitters of Great Fussing-on-the-Wold! He certainly has a way with words...any fans of the Yarn Harlot will love Franklin's equally ironic and wicked take on the knitty world...

Franklin was happy to hang around and chat and sign the book, plus a very limited number of his Guys With Yarn calendar (Gerard was first in line to grab a copy?!) This went down a storm..and made some people VERY happy!

The personal highlight for us was our one-off cartoon of Dolores doing Britannia, from Franklin. I'm ashamed to admit that my history (and French) lessons didn't amount to much so I had to ask for an explanation of the motto. But now I get it! And the 'cupcake' bit made me laugh out loud!

Franklin & Tom, thanks so much for coming over. we shall certainly head over to Chicago and pay you a visit. Have a fabulous trip home on the Queen Mary and Bon Voyage!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Yes We Can

And we do, often. Knitting of course. I've done lots of knitting over the past few weeks. It's been great being away from the shop but we did miss it, too.
We're back from our US trip and we're delighted to be home. We had a brilliant time and met some great people. I'm trying to think of my favourite moment but it's hard. We were introduced to people at the Stitches East gala dinner and were called up to the stage to say a few words on the mic. That was a bit scary, but brilliant.

We were taken for dinner by Kathleen and Nick Greco of Jelly Yarn. I've spoken to Kathleen on the phone a few times and the conversations were never just about business and I enjoyed them. I enjoyed meeting them very much. They are immensely genuine people and I love Kathleen's enthusiasm, she is so vibrant. They are a very elegant pair. So much so that they chose a brilliant restaurant, they even laid on a limo! I've never been in a limo before that. It was weird and discotastic!

Stitches was in Baltimore, pic of the famous harbour below. Each morning I was there I opened the window and sang out 'Good morning, Baltimore!' Well, I would have done if hotel room windows opened. That line is from the film Hairspray, a major theme of which is a segregation and human rights. It's interesting, then, that we were in America when the first black person was elected as president. I don't think you are allowed to say black, though. He was constantly being referred to as "African Amercian President Elect, Barack Obama". I spoke with my mum on the phone while I was there and she asked if we had got any souvenirs while we were there as this is history. I though that was a bit mad as I think this of it as progression. Craig agrees with my mum. I'm so glad that Obama is going to be the next President of the US and I don't really care if he's black. Maybe that's because I'm not black and I'm not American. I know it's a big deal, Craig reminded me that only 40 years ago black people had less human rights than white people in the US so the decision to make him the next president is at least historic and momentous, even if you didn't vote for him.
While we were in Baltimore we spent lots of time with delightful Eirwen, who runs Knitwitches, and Jane Sowerby, author of Victorian Lace Today. I love them both, it's official.
We also met the team from Malabrigo, they were as nice as their yarns! Too many people to mention, actually, but we have some brilliant square needles coming our way soon! When we weren't on stage, in a limo or cavorting with knitting superstars we got the chance to sip on a margarita or two.
We bought lots while we were in Baltimore. We couldn't help ourselves. We are about to make lots of orders but we had to bring back some Qiviut from Windy Valley. It's so gorgeous and the colours are amazing. It's in the shop right now and I've even started knitting with it and I love it. It's pricey, but worth it, and we have lots of patterns for scarf that only use one ball. We also brought brought back some amazing buttons, bags and shawl pins. Thanks again to Cheryl and everyone at Cherry Tree Hill for making a big deal of us, we had a great time.


Saturday, November 08, 2008

Stitches East

This morning we drove west to reach Baltimore and Stitches East. It's the reason we came over to the US this week, to visit the show, meet up with some friends, make some new ones and see if we can't find some goodies to bring back to London.

It's all been a bit of a quick day, but we got into Baltimore about 1pm, checked into the hotel and headed over to the show. It struck us immediately that it's the kind of show we aspire to in the UK. It's pretty much all centred around yarn, with a nice selection from all across the US. There's also a superb range of classes and workshops, exhaustive and worth it in their own right. We  spent the afternoon racing around the stalls which we will have more of a look at tomorrow. 

There was an abundance of beautiful lace shawls (Jane Sowerby is in attendance at the show) and a great mix of fibre. We met Jeri and Matthew from Flying Fibers who are committed to selling British yarns and it was a real surprise to see their stash of Wensleydale Longwool Sheepshop and their Garthenor. Ann and Ruth (from the Wensleydale Sheepshop) even made an appearance...in a photograph pinned up in their booth! We finally got to meet Nick and Kathleen, the faces behind Jelly Yarn, who we've been chatting to on the phone for some time. We are the UK distributor for the yarn and we were excited to report to them that it's being lapped up in London. They had a few new designs on their stand which are now winging their way over the Atlantic to us.

Purchases were few today (more to buy tomorrow I'm sure), but G did snap up some suri lace alpaca from Diane at Windy Valley Musk Ox - their range of laceweight yarns goes from the $90 a ball qiviut to the more modestly priced but just as gorgeous alpaca and cotton. I think we'll have some in our suitcase for on the way home. Some really beautiful stuff all round, and not just yarns either - Signature needles, some incredible resin and glass buttons, handmade needles cases, tote bags and other accessories and notions. 

After the main show we headed back to the hotel to freshen up before the fashion show and the dinner at the Hilton. The event is organised by XRX books, who publish Victorian Lace Today and Knitter's Magazine (amongst others). Their latest publication, Knit One Below by Elise Duvekot featured highly in the fashion show. The premise of the book is to use the k1b technique, combining yarns and using this simple instruction to form intriguing and interesting fabrics. The show also highlighted the work of many others designers and yarns all of whom had booths at the main event. Not all of it was to our taste but there were some glorious knits in there too. There was a penchant for wraps and shawls, and it was noted that on the catwalks this year there was the same...an indication that handknitting has influenced the high-end Italian designers this season and not the other way aorund...?

The dinner tonight ended the day on a surreal (but posh) note! We are here as guests of Cheryl and the gang at Cherry Tree Hill, but we didn't expect an on stage introduction in front of 1000 of people. And from Alexis Xenakis no less. Alexis is the photographer for most of XRX's publications, including VLT, and is  revered here at IKL. So when he got up on stage and apologised for not introducing us at the fasion show earlier, then asked us up on the stage for a short speech we were a bit gobsmacked and embarrassed! We said something about I Knit Day and invited everyone to visit us in London! Suddenly everything went in a direction we didn't expect. It's not false modesty to admit that we didn't expect anyone to know who we were...then we're ending the night the Marriott hotel bar with XRX CEO, Ben, Jane Sowerby and Eirwen, Tobias from Malabrigo, Jane Slicer-Smith, Susie from Kollage and, no doubt, looks of amazement on our faces.

We are off in the morning to have our photo taken by Alexis! Bizarre.


Friday, November 07, 2008

New York City boys

It's our third day in New York and the gin and tonics (and the jetlag) are finally taking their toll! After Tuesday's late night celebrating the results of the election we took it easier yesterday. Much of the day spent in the village and Soho, starting with a glorious pumpkin latte at Grounded (coffee shop on Jane Street) before a meander down to Canal Street and back again. Mostly window shopping although I did get myself a new hat and Gerard bought himself a $3 dollar umbrella as the rain came down - haggled down from $5 I might add. We're the last of the big spenders! We've both been to New York a few times and the streets are becoming more familiar with each visit; this time we've taken it easy, just wandering, rather than feeling the need to fit on the stuff that, as tourists, we're supposed to be doing (although today we did queue at tkts for show tickets and spotted the Naked Cowboy, pictured - what's the point of him again...?)

We also popped into a couple of knitting shops yesterday too - Purl in Soho, and The Point, where we spent a couple of hours. I got myself a hank of blank Twinkle super chunky (not available in the UK...yet!) and whipped up a 'scarflette' together with wooden button, "hand carved in Massachusetts" so I was told. G rustled up a little earflapped hat for his nephew and it was nice respite from the walking and the rain. Having friends here also helps with avoiding the obvious and we met up with James and Ryan, had a few drinks and headed for Pylos, a brilliant Greek restaurant down in alphabet city. A few more drinks later and we were ready to head back to the hotel. we're staying over (WAY over!) on 38th and 10th Avenue, which, even though it's only a 15 minute walk into Times Square, feels like a lifetime away. But it's not bad actually, and for £70 a night (between the two of us - thankyou Priceline!) we can't complain.

Tonight we saw Gypsy, with Patti LuPone which was disappointing actually -old fashioned entertainment that didn't live up to the hype. We should've learned from our last trip when we saw Spring Awakening (which went on to win all the Tony Awards) and we hated it. I just don't think musicals are our thing. Oddly.

Tomorrow we head off to Baltimore for Stitches East.


Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The times they are a-changin'

Gerard and I arrived in NYC yesterday (Tuesday) at about 10.30am. There's always something special about taking a taxi from the airport, through Queens and under the East River, emerging into Manhattan. But what a day to be here! Despite the jetlag we met up with a schoolfriend of G's, James, and stayed out very late celebrating with the rest of New York. After a few bars we ended up in a new spot called Wilfie & Nell to watch the results...

I went out onto the streets of Greenwich Village about 1am to take some pictures and it was an exciting and moving experience. We'd seen Times Square on the telly, where thousands of people had gathered, but downtown there were people shouting from their apartment windows, drivers honking their horns, singing in the street and smiles all round. There's a genuine feeling of change and excitement that isn't engineered, it's that thing that just happens when a mass of people all share a common emotion, and you can feel it in the atmosphere and see it in the faces. We're both feeling lucky to be here at such an amazing time - it really is a bit of history and one of those days when you'll remember where you were when you heard the news...Barack Obama is the next President of the USA!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Alright, so?

We've been away. Last week we took a short break to Ireland and it was, officially, the first time we'd been away that had nothing whatsoever to do with I Knit London since records began. It was lovely.
We were staying with a friend, Lorraine, in Mallow, a town just north of Cork. Lorraine helped us out at I Knit Day and Gerard met her at Dartington college in Devon back in his student days. Lorraine is one of G's longest-serving friends and I have no idea why we haven't visited her before. It's shameful really. She is brilliant. Gerard lived in Cork for a short time, but I've never been to Ireland before, but it lived up to what I expected, although we didn't see a single leprechaun and fiddle-dee-dee music was in short supply.

We'd originally intended to spent two weeks in Ireland, driving over, taking the ferry and then touring the country ending up in Belfast, hopping back on the ferry and over the Liverpool for Friday illumination festival. In actual fact, we have been invited to go to Baltimore next week for Stitches East so we had to curtail the trip and use Ryanair instead. Gerard was very clear that it would be raining, so when we arrived to glorious sunshine it was a good start (it didn't last, but by the time the gale force winds and rain came we were ensconced in Lorraine's house with the coal fire and the woolly socks).

I liked it. Lots. Ireland is almost like the adverts (we didn't see horses running around council estates, but we did see auld fellows drinking Guinness and Murphy's, live fiddle playing in the pub and more statues of the Virgin Mary than I've had hot dinners). Mallow is now what you'd call a commuter-town, but it has a bit of charm about it, including someone who has styled their back garden into 'a representation of the life and death of Jesus Christ' (no, really). We seemed to spend most of our nights at the Albert Lynch pub, but Gerard made a couple of trips at breakfast to the Hibernian Hotel to avail himself of their wi-fi. Now, this may come as a shocker - Lorraine doesn't have internet access. Yes, there are still places in the world where you can't check your Facebook! You know what, it was bloody lovely. I almost went a whole week without it and I think I preferred it (this is partly the reason why we haven't blogged).

So, what else did we do? Friday night in Cork (and one night is all we seem to be able to cope with these days); Gerard's mobile phone was left in a taxi and sent him into surprisingly apoplexy; Blarney Woollen Mills (not much wool); Kinsale; Garretstown beach; Cork gin; Limerick...

Limerick was our last little day trip. Above is Mary Smith's Aran Handknits shop which has seen baetter days. We spent quite a bit of time at the Hunt Museum, which is a personal collection of all sorts of nick-nacks. If you're interested in the evolution of handicraft and the art of superb workmanship you should definitely visit - everything from Egyptian glass bottles and da Vinci sculptures, to Picasso sketches and gold-plated pisspots. It's all here! They have my permission to take that and use it in their publicity. Honestly, though, I am a bit of buff when it comes to museums (good ones) and this was fascinating. I think the idea that this was a collection of artefacts put together because the Hunt's liked them, rather than trying to amass any kind of chronology or 'complete set' makes it much more interesting. We followed this with a visit to King John's castle which was less impressive - some waxwork re-enactments and a bit of amdram. I think we were too old and not their target audience.

Gerard took this photo of me on the bus at Victoria Station, happy to be back in London. If you're interested in seeing lots of photos of us, drunk, we've put them onto our Flickr pages. I could've written so much more but time marches on...

Saturday, October 18, 2008

So, why do you knit? It's rubbish!

Here at IKL HQ we get requests for all sorts of things. Do we want to be interviewed on such-and-such a TV programme? Radio? Internet? Would we be intersted in advertising in a certain magazine, or writing a short article about knitting....? Then there's the whole, "can you knit this?" for us, in a day or two for 20 quid? Usually if it's for the telly we'll have a go, but we've turned down Fonejacker, BBC's Oliver Twist, and BSkyB in the past year...the request to knit a hat for each of the Premiership's football managers, in team colours, with the face of each manager intarsiaed into the design of each hat, and with a deadline of 'a few days', still ranks as our favourite "one that got away"!

Anyway, this week we had two requests. One for an interview on the radio and one for advertising. To me it summed up the way that knitting has started to cross the usual boundaries and how it now appeals to people across a huge spectrum. On Wednesday Gerard was interviewed for Kerrang! radio...about knitting? I think they'll probably use the interview to take the piss (the very first question was, "So, why do you knit? It's rubbish", which almost made G hang up straight away), but I suppose it's the man thing. Even if Jonathan Ross calls it the new rock 'n' roll (yawn) and Johnny Borrell namechecks Stitch 'n' Bitch, I still don't think Kerrang listeners are quite ready for an interview about knitting, but it's all good. G took great pains to mention IKL, oh, about every sentence!

The second request was for an ad in a magazine that has completely passed me by. Best of British describes itself as "Britain's favourite nostalgia magazine" (how many are there?) and is amazing. It nestles snugly between The People's Friend and The Lady as one of those purely British enigmas enjoyed by those who live in places with names like Much Mickle-on-the Moor and have no contact with the known universe after 1950. It's just full of cosy nostalgia from the time of steam trains, coal fires, wartime spirit, rock 'n' roll and the like, before the hoodies, iPods, immigrants and Labour government ruined the world (according to BOB). But, I couldn't help but love it. It has, apparently, over 100,000 readers, mostly over the age of 55, and it takes you back to a time when we all loved each other and even murder was cosy (Miss Marple). I realised on Friday that I was officially old when I started to reminisce about things that do not exist anymore; rag and bone men, coalmen, Hillman Hunters. Ahh, those were the days.

We thoroughly embrace all the steroetypes and we actively encourage the breaking of them in the same moment. What's unusual (to me) is that the so-called 'new' knitters (ie those under 40) are the ones who want to use natural fibres, wool, alpaca etc, which I would consider the more 'traditional' choice and most of the old ladies (who are, apparently, the 'traditional' knitters) are only ever after a bit of manmade acrylic.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Quizzy rascals

Here at IKl we very rarely need an excuse or much encouragement to come up with an idea or two to get knitters together. This week is UK National Knitting Week so we decided to put together a few extra events during the week to persuade lapsed knitters, wannabe knitters and non-knitters to come along and join in. Sunday's knitting group was the first event, and last night was NKW Part 2 - the quiz night. We may be a knitting shop, but we're not just a knitting shop.
It's no secret that I'm a quiz geek, so I was just looking for any excuse to do one. It's actually quite difficult thinking of questions though. very tricky - you'll always get someone compaining that it's too hard or too easy, and since you know the answers (because you're writing the thing in the first place) it's quite hard to judge. Anyway, we had a picture round (below, if you want to play along), a music round (film and TV themes), a Monopoly streets section and a general knowledge 20 questions.

I think a good time was had by all. We all learned something (particularly that Gerard's first crush was Lee Majors in The Fall Guy !?), we all had a few drinks and made some new friends, and everyone got something, from calendars and DVDs to theatre tickets and a complete set of Barbara Walker's Treasury books. In the process we had a minimum £1 entry and raised £43 for Bliss - we'll match that and round up to £100, so all-in-all a very good result. I think a monthly charity quiz might be in the offing so we will have a think about it and put it in our newsletter.
Thanks to Tom for giving me the title for this blog post!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Sunday Knit Roast

What a mad weekend. Busy, busy, busy. All the knitters in town for Ally Pally seemed to descend on the shop in the last few days too, checking us out. I hope we lived up to expectations. We have been sorting through stuff for our National Knitting Week sale which starts today and, blimey, we haven't had a proper de-clutter for ages!

Yesterday we had the first of our new knitting group meetings on a Sunday. We used to meet in pubs every week, then every fortnight and recently we hung up our pub night shoes and now host our own knitting group on a Wednesday and Thursday night in our shop. But we missed the pub knitting vibe so we decided to try a Sunday get-together. We'll be doing it monthly and we'll be choosing pubs with a good selection of beer, but also a good roast dinner (for carnivores and veggies alike). So, to start us off we were in The Phoenix for Sunday afternoon. It was a bit dark but we had a good turnout which resulted in the roast dinners selling out! It was lovely to meet so many new people too and we hope you can make it along next time. Eleanor solved the mystery of the 'cast on and purl 5' instruction for a pair of big chunky mittens, and Catherine brought Peter along making him, officially, the youngest ever member of the knitting group at 16 weeks. Sadly, he was forced to sit outside as the pub were concerned that the crazy drinking knitters would corrupt his innocence! He was cosy enough though in his gorgeous ickle hat and blanket.
We do want to send an apology to those who were still around when we left. We simply HAD to get up to Ally Pally before it closed to collect some yarn - and, best laid plans and all that....we just didn't have time to get back to the pub. I'm particularly cross with ourselves as a lovely bunch of ladies from Norway had just arrived with the most gorgeous Scandanavian mittens...and we had to leave. One day we will have minions to do chores like that for us! Sorry folks, I hope you still had a good day. We were there for four hours so plenty of time for knitting, drinking, Yorkshire puds and more!

Our next Sunday Roast will be Sunday 16th November from 12pm....we'll be researching pubs between now and then and will let you know where we'll be. Any recommendations happily received. Pubs should be spacious enough and light enough for all the knitters to see what they are doing, fairly central (or close to a Tube station), and have a good Sunday lunch (with veggie options for me and G!)

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Knitting and Stitching Show...

It was our day for the Knitting and Stitching Show at Ally Pally yesterday. Our main reason for going was to collect our certificate for winning the Editor's Choice Award in the inaugural Let's Knit magazine awards. Here we are collecting our award and looking well cheesy. We'll have it framed and it will sit alongside our Blankety-Blank chequebook and pen and our Alan Titchmarsh Show National Treasure 2007 Award!

We also did the rounds, dodging most of the non-knitting stalls and making a beeline for our favourites. There seemed to be less yarn than last year, or maybe it was just more spread around the three rooms? Still, we met up with a few friends and we ate some chocolate...

Knitting for the Wallace and Gromit Foundation's attempt at the World's Biggest Tea Cosy...

Elaine Jamieson and Mary MacGregor from the Shetland Islands. Mary's new book of Fair Isle knitting charts is due out in January...

Wyesue shows off the gorgeous Orenburg shawl at the Knitwitches stand. Just noticed how G gets himself hovering in the background of most photos!Big budget yarn mountain. (I was going to write 'wool mountain' but that might be stretching it a bit!)

Cheryl at Cherry Tree Hill displays her wares....

Hyperbolic Crochet in the main foyer...

...and some new bits being added.
We spent the best part of the day at the show, and our feet were killing us by the time we finished. It's so big that we didn't get to see everyone and fighting through the crowds can be just a little wearisome after a while. We got to say hello to some friends along the way and we stocked up on Cherry Tree Hill and Habu, otherwise our purchases were very modest. See above...three hanks of Knitwitches Baby Camel which Gerard bought to make a shawl for someone special, plus some rejuvenation cream, which is really what we need, not more yarn! And, of course, four bags of Linden Lady chocolates.

Here's the shuttle bus back to the station. Can you spot the odd one out?